Published on Feb 22, 2013
James Kalm has been aware of the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat since the late 1970s. First known for his street poetry under the name SAMO, and later as an energetic Downtown scenester, and painter, Basquiat streaked across the New York art world like a comet. In a brief career, spanning less than a decade, he became one of the icons of the East Village, Underground, Punk Rock revolution, combining the grit of the graffiti writer with the sophistication of Abstract Expressionism. Since his early death, Basquiat’s paintings have become some of the most highly priced and sought after works in the world. This is the first major exhibition of his work since the Brooklyn Museum’s retrospective in 2005. Your reporter is “busted” by security before he can make a complete walkthrough, but this brief view provides a sense of the exhibition.
Untitled, (Blue and Brown House with Chimneys), circa 1939-1942, by Bill Traylor, at the Outsider Art Fair. Courtesy of Ricco Maresca Gallery.
The Outsider Art Fair has been beautifully revived, and today through Sunday, you can see it in the charmed spaces of the former Dia Building at 548 West 22nd Street. Launched in 1993, the Fair spent many happy years in the Puck Building, during which time brilliant visionaries were seen for the first time — artists like James Castle, Morton Bartlett, George Widener, Melvin Way, Judith Scott, and A.G. Rizzoli, all now part of the “outsider” canon. Then the show hit a plateau about eight years ago and eventually went all but bland in an out-of-the-way office high-rise on West 34th Street. By last year, I thought we’d seen the end of a great thing.
The Chelsea dealer Andrew Edlin shows contemporary artists and also represents the estates of geniuses Henry Darger and Ralph Fasanella. In the past year, Edlin bought the fair, weeded out lesser dealers, added new ones, and moved the show to this beautiful space. For that intrepid effort alone, he deserves a key to the city. The show looks great here. There’s more room, wider aisles, better light, less dross, higher energy. Search any of the 40 booths, and there’s a good chance you’ll uncover something newish worth your while. And not too overpriced. Maybe a few of these discoveries, too, will enter the “outsider” pantheon.
Which brings us to the the horrible Rubicon that still separates so-called “outsider,” “self-taught,” and “visionary” art from institutionally sanctioned official art. Now that even immigration reform can happen, it’s time for MoMA — and all museums — to integrate “outsider art” into their permanent collections and erase that distinction for good. They need to allow these artists to take their rightful places in the canon. In addition to the artists mentioned above, visionaries like Hilma af Klint, Emma Kunz, Bill Traylor, Adolf Wolfli, Martin Rameirez, Minnie Evans, John Kane, Clementine Hunter, Hector Hyppolite, and others must be integrated into the canon. At the Fair, there’s a 1939–1942 town scene by one of the greatest “outsiders” of them all, Bill Traylor, that would easily compare with any Picasso from the same period. Or, indeed, any artist.
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Published on Jan 28, 2013
With Precisionist Casual, Sharon Butler fleshes out her June 2011, Brooklyn Rail essay “ABSTRACT PAINTING: The New Casualists”. This series of intimately scaled works have a relaxed feel, yet contain a formalistic consideration of the standard painters materials of canvas, stretcher-bars and staples. Manipulating these constituent parts, Butler attempts to imply a more conscious awareness of what a painting is, and therefore what “painting” is. Sharon Butler is also a well-known blogger and creator of TWO COATS OF PAINT (http://www.twocoatsofpaint.com/), and gives an spontaneous interview and tour of this exhibition.
James Kalm stumbled onto the work of Jules De Balincourt at his first New York exhibition “Land of Many Uses”, in 2003 at the LFL Gallery in Chelsea. Since then, De Balincourt has emerged as one of the most influential and recognized painters of his generation. With “Ecstatic Contact” the artist presents a selection of large scale paintings that signal a new phase, and his mature style. This program features an in-depth interview and a guided tour of the exhibition by the artist, Jules De Balincourt.
Another anticipated show: “Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone, 1955–1972.” Click to page two for more.
(Photo: © The Estate of Alina Szapocznikow/Piotr Stanislawski/ADAGP, Paris.Photo by Thomas Mueller/Courtesy of Broadway 1602, New York, and Galerie Gisela Capitain GMBH, Cologne.)
1. Picasso Black and White
Picasso is back, this time in black-and-white. Only. Before Picasso, few painters depicted the world without color. This thrilling show of over 100 works will put forward his massive graphic power and also demonstrate how much can be done with little. Socks should be knocked off. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; opens Oct. 5.
2. Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists; Fifty Years
It wouldn’t be a museum season without a Warhol show, and the Met’s jump into the Warhol ruckus is a look at the ever-expanding cloud of artists who emanate from Andy. The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Sept. 18–Dec. 31.
3. Wade Guyton OS
Of all the artists not in the Met’s Warhol show, Wade Guyton is the one who today may be doing the most to extend Andy’s reproductive processes. This mid-career survey will let us see just how germane these investigations are. Whitney Museum of American Art; Oct. 4–Jan. 13.
4. Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos
The New Museum continues its ever-improving march toward non-annoying excellence with this three-floor show of a German artist who since the seventies has pushed boundaries around social sculpture, craft, political art, neo-conceptualism, and elegant beauty. The New Museum; Oct. 24–Jan. 21.
5. Mickalene Thomas: The Origin of the Universe
Few artists hit you with a glammed-up multicolored retinal blast as shocking and smart as Thomas’s. Her massive landscapes and portraits embellished with rhinestones, enamel, and paint exude sheer aesthetic gall and visual intelligence. Brooklyn Museum; Sept. 28–Jan. 20.
And We’re Also Anticipating
“Eric Yahnker: Virgin Birth n’ Turf”
Because his epically scaled drawings of models with hair in their eyes have been a painstaking two years in the making. The Hole; Sept. 4–Oct. 6.
Because the Turner Prize winner’s soundscapes are so lush and evocative they have no problem filling an empty room. Tanya Bonakdar; Sept. 6–Oct. 20.
“Toxic Beauty: The Art of Frank Moore”
Because the extraordinarily intricate realist-allegorical paintings of this artist—another lost in his prime to aids—delve into biogenetics, the environment, and his own declining heath. Grey Art Gallery; Sept. 6–Dec. 8.
Read more at: Five Shows Jerry Saltz Really Wants to See
James Kalm has been swamped with chores, errands and projects that have severely restricted the time he needs to compile his reports. However, slipping in on the final day after closing time for Tamera Gonzalez’s “Untitled” provides viewers with an opportunity to view some of this artist’s recent “breakthrough” paintings. She discusses the technical and aesthetic experiments that have driven the investigation represented by this new body of work.
Kevin Curran, creates sculptural works that recall childhood activities and interests. Maintaining a whimsical twist on his practice of drawing and sculpture, these works take adolescent doodlings and inject them with a knowing irony and formalism. A musical introduction by Tim Ryans was captured live on Bedford Avenue at 6th Street.
As a young artist, James Kalm came under the sway of the Pattern & Decorative movement. An “in your face” critique of the macho reductivism of Minimalism P&D reasserted not only painting but the exuberant visual pleasures of design, color, materials and craft. This exhibition includes many of the originators of P&D including: Mary Grigoriadis, Miriam Schapiro, Joyce Kozloff, Robert Kushner and Robert Zakanitch. It also presents current practitioners who are employing the methods and aesthetics of the “Decorative” such as Kira Nam Greene, Susan Happersett and Charles Koegel.